Sometimes, I don't feel like writing. I just don't want to. I love writing, so there's usually a reason why I grumble as I plop down in the chair without enthusiasm. Here are my reasons, and what I do about them.
Fatigue is the creativity killer. Many of us have other jobs, and most of us have other obligations that require our attention. And I hear you, devoted writers who say that you make time for the things that really matter to you. That is true. But most of us are pulled in many directions at once, and you do have to make choices.
When my problem is fatigue, I choose rest. Not the two week kind, but a few hours, maybe overnight if it's been really rough. While plenty of pantsers wander in their plots, I don't like to, and when I find that things are just randomly happening to characters, or I'm describing the process of tying shoes in great detail, it's time to rest. My readers don't want to read that. I don't want to write it. It usually comes from fatigue, and anything I write in that state will wind up cut anyway.
2) Wandering Plot
See above for the cause of this problem. Once I've let it happen, I find it hard to keep writing. I don't want to throw out pages of work, but I don't want to keep going as if I haven't noticed I've gone off track.
This one requires the courage to throw it out. Go back to where you lost the thread, and start slashing, metaphorically. It will hurt, but when you go back and start that scene over, it will be better, and you will feel better as a result. It's cleansing to let the shoe tying go, and return to something more interesting.
If you're bored with your story, chances are good your reader will be, too. When were you last enthused about it? Find that spot, and consider what would have happened if that character had gone the other way at a metaphorical fork. Or maybe a physical fork. Is it possible to make a better story that way? More conflict?
Sometimes, too, it's a lack of detail. You don't want endless descriptions of a window frame, but you do want to know whether it's wood and glass, or just a hole in a stone wall. Make sure you've thoroughly painted your scene, so you can see your characters moving through fictional space and time. If you get into their worlds, you will be more embedded in your world, and you can take your readers with you.
These are my solutions to sudden and overwhelming indifference to a project. Have you got another reason for your indifference? What do you do to alleviate these problems? Let me know - let's talk about it.
So...it's the middle of the editing. Not even the middle of the middle, but the beginning of the middle. The first two chapters look pretty good, but, (and perhaps this is universal) this is the phase where I find all the plot holes. Or some of them, anyway. I hope it's all. So I go from the written copy and its red ink notes, to the laptop and the revising. Solving one problem changes something somewhere else. It takes a while. I didn't have any expectations about time, but there is something about the middle of this that feels like drowning. I might put in two hours, stretch, fetch a snack, and sit back down, and discover I'm still where I started.
But it also has to be done. The more I read from more experienced writers, the more I am certain that I am not alone in this, and that the middles always feel sloggy, like feet dragging in the muck. I am making progress, and all of the major points are in place. It's hard not to get bogged down in the details. But maybe that's what this phase of revision is about -- cleaning up the patchwork of day to day writing to form a coherent whole.
It feels like stagnation, but it isn't. The only way out is through.
Confession: I'm not sure either. I know how I do it, so I'll share that, but I'm not sure it's the most efficient way. It's just the way I use. If you've got another method that really works for you, I'd use that.
Once the draft is complete, I print a hard copy. I write a long outline by hand before I draft, so I get that notebook, and my printed copy, and put them in one of those three ring binders we all used in school. This allows me to make small corrections on each page, and notes on wider reaching changes in the notebook. Corrections are always in red. Because it's tradition, I suppose. It separates my original outline notes from these corrections.
My first drafts need heavy editing, unless they're very short. I tend to lose track of details, misspell or even change names as I'm fitting my fiction writing time into the spaces in my life around other work and aspects of life. This is where I (hopefully) discover all the small mistakes I've made, and root out inconsistencies.
Then I spread out the laptop, the paper notebook, and the bound copy, and dig in. It's a painstaking thing. I have often wondered if everyone finds editing to be so challenging. Perhaps great literature springs forth from other minds whole and nearly perfect. But the more I read from other writers, the less I think this is true. The more I think we all struggle with a project like this that stretches over months, or even a year. So maybe that's ok.
So my novella, 'Maestro', is in the editing phase. When I have a clearer idea on how long it will be to completion, I'll post here, but for now, I enter the dark forest of editing without a flashlight, chased by nameless monsters.